Reptile traffic

Malaysian airport security arrested a convicted wildlife smuggler after finding almost 100 live reptiles in his luggage.

Anson Wong, already convicted of trafficking in wildlife in the US, was in transit from the Malaysian island state of Penang to the Indonesian capital Jakarta when Malaysia Airlines staff at Kuala Lumpur airport were alerted to a bag that had broken while on a conveyor belt.

The department said its enforcement officers found 95 boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a matamata turtle inside the luggage.

According to the US Department of Justice, Wong had previously pleaded guilty to trafficking in the US in 2001 and was sentenced to 71 months in jail.

TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring organisation, said Malaysia must “rise to the challenge” of confronting new evidence of its role as a hub for those engaged in wildlife smuggling.